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EGLE announces Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week, June 3-11

Make a splash: Connect with Michigan’s matchless water resources. 

That’s the message of this year’s annual Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week (GLFWW), Saturday, June 3-Sunday, June 11. The designation by Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and partners brings with it a focus on events and resources related to water education and “blue economy” workforce development, enjoyment and appreciation, and stewardship and protection.

“Michigan is defined by its waters, and Michiganders are united by a shared love for our lakes both Great and small,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who dedicated the week in a proclamation. “During Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week, we take pride in our salt-free waters and recommit ourselves to protecting our water for future generations. Not only are Michigan’s waters an economic driver of billions of dollars of commerce supporting tens of thousands of jobs, but our state is home to 21% of the world’s surface freshwater. Let’s keep working together to protect our water and build a brighter future.”

Protecting state land and water is part of the MI Healthy Climate Plan, commissioned by Gov. Whitmer as a broad vision for Michigan’s prosperous clean energy future and economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050.

GLFWW will highlight ways everyone can make a splash: by learning about freshwater systems and how our actions affect them, by prepping for rewarding careers in Michigan’s water-centered blue economy, and by exploring and enjoying our waters responsibly.

Michigan is home to more than 3,200 miles of coastline along four Great Lakes, 11,000 inland lakes and ponds, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, and enough groundwater to fill Lake Michigan over again. More than 30 million people in the U.S. and Canada rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking water.

EGLE and its Office of the Great Lakes (OGL) partner with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) to sponsor Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week.

“We must not take Michigan’s water wonderland for granted, including our lakes, rivers, streams, and especially groundwater,” EGLE Acting Director Aaron Keatley said. “Now is a perfect time for all of us to recommit to good stewardship to protect Michigan’s environment and public health.”

“Michigan’s water resources provide amazing recreational opportunities you won’t find anywhere else," DNR Acting Director Shannon Lott said. “When it comes to conserving, protecting, managing, using, and enjoying these resources, we have a responsibility not only to ourselves and each other but to future generations.”

“In our region, as in all of Michigan, we know there is One Water, and it is ours to protect,” SEMCOG Executive Director Amy O’Leary said. “Education and engagement like that offered through Great Lakes and Fresh Water Week will help us support the healthy water systems that power our economic well-being and enrich our lives.”

Details about GLFWW are available on the OGL’s Stewarding the Great Lakes webpage, including links to local events, videos, educational resources on topics such as invasive species identification and proper disposal of medications, and information on how to volunteer with the Michigan Clean Water Corps. Among the many ways to participate:

  • Engage with EGLE, DNR, and SEMCOG on social media for news, information, and suggestions on how you can make a splash for Michigan waters, using the hashtag #MIGreatLakesWeek.
  • Virtually attend a water webinar: A SEMCOG webinar titled “Water: Connected for Life” will take place from 1-2 p.m. Monday, June 5, focused on regional water affordability programs, how Southeast Michigan’s water workforce is changing, and how working together to green our region can play an important role in protecting our water resources. Register on SEMCOG’s website or watch the presentation live on SEMCOG's Facebook page.
  • Registration also is open for EGLE’s “Building a Water Workforce in the Blue Economy” webinar, scheduled from 1-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, and featuring a panel of Michigan professionals discussing tools, resources, programs, and partnerships to support filling the water talent pipeline.
  • Test your Great Lakes knowledge with trivia questions posted daily, June 5-9, on the DNR’s Mi Nature Facebook page and at EGLE’s Twitter feed.
  • Visit EGLE’s Facebook page to make the case for your favorite Michigan waterway and maybe share a photo.
  • Fish for free Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11. On these two days, the DNR will waive the need for a fishing license, off-road vehicle license, trail permit, and the Recreation Passport requirement for admission to Michigan state parks and boating access sites.
  • Settle in at the water’s edge with a great summer read – like the 2022 State of the Great Lakes report.
  • Enjoy the outdoors in and around Michigan waterways safely and sustainably by following tips for responsible recreation.
  • Teachers, explore the From Students to Stewards toolkit for place-based educational resources that will instill a desire to learn about water resources and protect our lakes and streams.
  • Public officials, check the Michigan Municipal League Foundation’s MI Water Navigator website as a guide to infrastructure funding opportunities.
Looking ahead, registration is now open for EGLE’s 2023 Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference, Sept. 19-21, in Kalamazoo. The conference for local drinking water and wastewater officials and staff; planners, consultants, and policy makers; federal, state, and local governments; and other interested parties in the Great Lakes region will focus on critical water infrastructure solutions to transform communities and improve water quality and public health.

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